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Engineering LibreTexts

6.3: Excercises

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  • Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Why would one want to at least consider using a foundational ontology in ontology development?

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    Name at least three fundamental ontological design decisions that affect how a foundational ontology will look like with respect to its contents.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{3}\)

    What are the major differences between DOLCE and BFO in terms of philosophical approach?


    Some of the differences are: descriptive, possibilism, and multiplicative for DOLCE versus prescriptive and realist, actualism, and reductionist for BFO. You can find more differences in Table 1 of [KK12] and online in the “comparison tables” tab at

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{4}\)

    What is the major difference between DOLCE and BFO in type of contents of the ontologies?


    There are several differences. The major differences are that DOLCE also has relationships and axioms among the categories using those relationships (i.e., richly formalised), whereas BFO v1 and v1.1 is a ‘bare’ taxonomy of universals (some work exist on merging it with the RO, but not yet officially). Others are the Abstract branch and the treatment of ‘attributes’/quality properties in DOLCE that do not have an equivalent in BFO. The BFO-core has a more comprehensive inclusion of parthood and boundaries than DOLCE.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{5}\)

    Name at least 2 common relations—in terms of definition or description and intention—in the OWLized DOLCE, GFO and RO.


    The most often recurring relationships are parthood, participation, constitution, and inherence or dependence.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{6}\)

    Why can one not represent Ground Mereology fully in OWL 2 DL?

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{7}\)

    Which part-whole relation is appropriate to relate the following entities?

    1. Plant and Twig;
    2. Tusk/Ivory and Apatite;
    3. Musician and Performance;
    4. Musician and Orchestra

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{8}\)

    Content comparison:

    a. Try to match the DOLCE classes Endurant, Process, Quality, Amount of Matter, Accomplishment, Spatial Region, Agentive Physical Object, and Set to a class in BFO.

    b. If you cannot find a (near) equivalence, perhaps as a subclass-of some BFO class? And if not even that, why do you think that (those) class(es) is (are) not mappable?


    Informal alignments:

         (a) dolce:Endurant maps roughly to bfo:Continuant (though actually, more precisely to bfo:IndependentContinuant), dolce:Process as a sub-class of bfo:Process, and

         dolce:quality to bfo:quality.

         (b) Amount of Matter, Accomplishment, Agentive Physical Object, and Set do not have a mapping. An example of the possible reasons: Set is abstract, but not existing in

         nature (hence, by philosophical choice, not in BFO).

    A more detailed comparison—or: the results of trying to align DOLCE, BFO, and GFO— is available at

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{9}\)

    Assume you are asked to develop an ontology about

    a. Sociological and organizational aspects of public administration

    b. The physiology and chemistry of medicinal plants

    c. A topic of your choice

    Which (if any) foundational ontology would you choose for each one? Why?


    Options may vary:

         (a) DOLCE or GFO

         (b) BFO or GFO

         (c) Depends on you chosen topic

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{10}\)

    Download ONSET from and re-do Exercise 6.3.9, but now use the ONSET tool to obtain an answer. Does it make any difference? Were you reasons for choosing a foundational ontology the same as ONSET’s?

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{11}\)

    Consider the following scenario.

    Both before and since the 2008 recession hit, banks have been merging and buying up other banks, which have yet to integrate their IT systems within each of the consolidated banks, and meet new regulations on transparency of business operations. To achieve that, you are tasked with developing an ontology of banks that will facilitate the database integration and transparency requirements. In such an ontology there will be concrete entities e.g., Bank manager and ATM, and abstract entities e.g., Loans. For this to be possible, the ontological assumptions that are made by the ontology must be based on human common-sense. Processes, such as withdrawals and deposits must also be modelled. It must be possible to capture dates and times for operations that occur between entities and processes. Past and present transactions must be allowed in the ontology. Entities of the ontology may have properties and values associated with them e.g., an individual has a credit rating. It may be useful to refer to or possibly use components of an ontology that implements a particular mereology theory such as classical extensional mereology (CEM) or any other. This ontology must be represented in OWL 2 DL.

    Which (if any) foundational ontology would you choose? Why?


    The main ‘trick’ with such questions is to be able to detect key words and phrases, such as the description stating that there will be “concrete entities ... and ... abstract entities”: this data provide answers to one of the questions in ONSET, and will affect the choice of the foundational ontology (BFO does have abstract entities, but GFO and DOLCE do), and likewise the sentence on mereology and the text mentioning OWL 2 DL. Three use case with sample answers can be found at

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{12}\)

    Consider the D3 decision diagram and answer the first four questions of Example 6.3.9.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{13}\)

    Download either AfricanWildlifeOntology2.owl (with DOLCE) or AfricanWildlifeOntology3.owl (with BFO), open it in the ontology development environment of choice, and inspect its contents. Modify the African Wildlife Ontology such that it contains, in some way, the following:

    a. Add enough knowledge so that RockDassie will be classified automatically as a subclass of Herbivore.

    b. Add information that captures that lions, impalas, and monkeys reside in nature reserves that are located in a country (like Kenya, well-known for safaris), and that monkeys can also be found on some university campuses in residential areas.

    c. Rangers of nature reserves are Humans (or: it’s a role that a human can perform).

    Was there anything of use from DOLCE/BFO to assist with that?


    I use the version with DOLCE in the following answers

    (a) To have RockDassie classified as a subclass of Herbivore (still both animals, and physical objects, and physical endurants, and endurants), it needs to havemore, or more constrained properties than Herbivore. In Protégé notation, each Herbivore is equivalent to:

    (eats only plant) or (eats only (is-part-of some plant)).

    Rockdassies eat grasses and broad-leafed plants. The easiest way to modify the ontology is to add that grasses are plants (already present), that broad-leafed plants are kinds of plants, and that rockdassies eat only grass or broad-leafed plant. This is not to say this is the best thing to do: there are probably also other animals that eat grasses and broad-leafed plants, which now unintentionally will be classified as rockdassies. This does not really need any of the foundational ontology content. One could align the parthood relations.

    (b) The ontology does not contain any knowledge on ‘residing in’ and ‘nature reserves’, let alone sloppy word use of ‘found on’ (or, more precisely: in an area where a university campus is located). Nature reserves are administrative entities, but also can be considered only by their region-of-space aspect; for the sake of example, let’s add \(\texttt{NatureReserve}\sqsubseteq\texttt{space-region}\). Trickier is the living, or living in: one could add it as an OWL object property livesIn or as a subclass of Process and add participation relations between that, the nature reserve, and the lions, impalas, and monkeys. The former is less cumbersome, the latter more precise and interoperable.

    (c) Ranger is a role that a human plays for some time, with Human being a physical object, Ranger an agentive social object, and that the latter inheres in the former.